According to Brad Bumsted of the Tribune-Review, copies of the Governor’s official calendar show no meetings between Gov. Corbett and Tomalis between May 15, 2013 (the day Tomalis stepped down as Education Secretary) and mid-July 2014.
Then, Steve Esack of the Morning Call reported this week that Tomalis’ tenure in his new position would allow him to collect significantly higher pension benefits.
This has led to accusations by some that Tomalis was given his position merely to pad his eventual retirement account.
The Corbett Administration, however, is vehemently pushing back against those charges.
“I can tell you definitively there was no decision to keep Tomalis on to get a higher pension,” Corbett’s spokesman Jay Pagni told the Tribune-Review.
Meanwhile GOP Sen. Mike Folmer, the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, says he was shown evidence by the Department of Education that Tomalis did work there. Folmer told Bumsted he saw records of Tomalis’ parking swipes, proving his attendance.
“I’m telling you, he was not a ghost employee,” Folmer said.
After viewing Tomalis’ parking records and speaking to Acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq, Sen. Folmer cancelled a planned committee hearing, asserting that it was no longer necessary.
The Wolf campaign, and their PAC FreshStartPA, appear in no rush to let the story die down, though it’s unclear if the story’s legs will carry it into the fall season. This could depend on the Governor’s ability to answer two questions: 1. Why did you keep Tomalis on after he left your Cabinet? and 2. If his advice was so valuable that you needed him in your Administration, why didn’t you ever seek it over the course of his 14 month tenure?
The most lasting legacy of this episode may be the way it tests the political skills of Governor Tom Corbett just months before the most important electoral contest of his life.